Full article here // Excerpt below
By Joyce Carol Oates and Meghan O'Roarke
Meghan O'Rourke: You know, writing has always been the way I make sense of the world. It’s a kind of stay against dread, and chaos. My mother was diagnosed with advanced colorectal cancer in 2006; she was 53, and I was 30. As her disease progressed, I found myself writing down all the experiences we had — the day she got giddily high on morphine at the doctor’s office; the afternoon we talked, painfully, about her upcoming death. It helped me externalize what was happening. After she died, I kept writing — and reading — trying to understand or just get a handle on grief, which was different from what I thought it’d be. It wasn’t merely sadness; I was full of nostalgia for my childhood, obsessed with my dream life and had a hard time sleeping or focusing on anything but my memories. I worried that all this was abnormal.